Surfer Blood Entertains Orlando

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Surfer Blood – Concert Review

Surfer Blood live at BackBooth Orlando, FL
Andrew Corbet

There’s nothing like a rock and roll show. Four guys, shaggy hair, with guitars tied to their necks in a smoky bar. The crowd was thick and the music loud, as native Florida indie rockers Surfer Blood controlled the room.

Surfer Blood, led by John Paul Pitts and his band of stoner comrades, broke into the national scene with their debut album Astro Coast in 2009, heralded by SPIN, Pitchfork and Rolling Stone alike. In recent light of their sophomore album “>Pythons and the success of the single “Demon Dance,” Surfer Blood is (excuse the pun) riding the wave of hype towards good things.

But not hype in a sense of theatrics, they’re dressed like the crowd, guitarist Thomas Fekete slouched over an American Stratocaster, garbed in an over-sized sweater. While John Paul Pitts (or JP) stands upright, the cherub clenching his guitar and singing in a harmonious pitch. Psychedelic, pop infused verses the playfully lead to a harmony chorus with all three-axe men in sync.

Playing mostly off Astro Coast, Surfer Blood sampled from the newest album with great crowd reaction. Although JP had complete control of the packed room, it was during more intimate tracks the room stood dazed.

But with all this, the one thing I did not get was the show. The songs were well played, catchy and the energy was great. But in the end I watched four guys dressed like myself playing songs that I had heard before. I had heard that JP was very awkward yet connected with the crowed in between songs.  But he only thanked them shyly. Perhaps they were tired, or lost the energy that night. But it was solely a musical performance. Which would be a problem, if the music weren’t such an ear delight.

The highlight of the show was the crowd pleaser “Take it Easy.” The room erupted with the chop chop of the riff, JP shuffles around leading towards the edge of the stage. The chorus hits and he steps into the crowd, greeted by a harmony chorus sing along. As the second verse dance party calms for the singsong chorus he sits upon the edge of the stage. Taking in the crowd’s adoration, he sat slouched as if he was hitting your bong in the living room.

Expect a string of solid albums from the Florida metaphor that is Surfer Blood. With their comfortable disposition and the beach day crunch and pop they carry. They are musicians that you know, the guys who won the battle of the band and smoked your weed at parties. But they have a nationally recognized name, and a banging sound.

Be sure to check out the latest release, Pythons at their YouTube page. But if that’s not doing it for you, spin the debut Astro Coast. I’m sure you’ll understand why they are a band to watch.


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